Marvel Heroes: All Known Info

Last Update: Tuesday, August 7th 2012

As Gazillion Entertainment quietly works away on their Marvel MMO titles Marvel Heroes, I decided to go ahead and gather as much info as I could on the project since I’m really quite interested in the Marvel universe in video game form.

General Information

So what is Marvel Heroes?
An MMO being worked on by Gazillion Entertainment that is said to play like an action RPG. Fans of Diablo or Torchlight will have a vague idea of what to expect while players of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games should know exactly what is in store for them.

Who do we play as in the game?
Players will not create their own original heroes but will instead get to take on the role of their favourite Marvel protagonists. It’s been said that a huge variety of heroes will be playable in the game. Current characters that are known to be playable are as follows:

Black Panther
Black Widow
Cable
Captain America
Colossus
Cyclops
Deadpool
Emma Frost
Hawkeye
Hulk
Human Torch
Iron Man
Magneto
Ms. Marvel
Nova
Rocket Raccoon
Scarlet Witch
Squirrel Girl
Spider-Man
Storm
Thing
Thor
Wolverine

Will there be character customization?
There will be customization in the form of alternate costumes, costume construction (not sure how this works yet), selectable powers, and items.

What areas are in the game?
Some of the revealed locations are Avengers Tower, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown Manhattan, Mutant Town, Savage Land, and Xavier Institute. It has been noted by the developer that PvE locations are completely randomized similarly to areas in Diablo and Diablo II.

Is this a subscription based game?
Marvel Heroes will be 100% free to play, though there will be micro-transactions in the game which have not yet been elaborated on.

What platforms will the game be released for?
Marvel Heroes will be available exclusively for PC.

Media & Screenshots

Trailers & Videos

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The Elder Scrolls Online Officially Announced

The Elder Scrolls Online has been revealed by Bethesda Softworks and will be developed by TES veterans Zenimax Online Studios.

Nothing too concrete is known just yet, but Game Informer will have a full reveal of the game in their June 2012 issue. A few little facts are known though, and here they are…

1. The game will currently take place all across Tamriel, with confirmed provinces being Cyrodiil, Elsweyr, and Skyrim.
2. There will be three factions in the game. They have not been hinted at our revealed.
3. There will be open world PvP.
4. The time frame of the game is 1000 years before Skyrim, placing it during the Second Era, predating all four of the main games.
5. The Daedric Prince Molag Bal is the central antagonist and plans to transfer Tamriel to his realm.
6. Will be available or PC and Mac.

No word on playable races yet, but you can probably sure sure that all of your favourite TES mainstays will be in.

Star Wars – The Old Republic (Review)

I’m not a big Star Wars fan and I haven’t really enjoyed any Star Wars video game that I have played in the past. With that said, The Old Republic is without a doubt the most well designed MMORPG ever made and I’m enjoying my time with it so far.

After spending a good amount of time with the game, the overall detail and quality of the finished product is blindingly apparent to me. This isn’t another Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Aion, or even Rift. The Old Republic is a very noticeable step above them all in terms of how well made the game is. The surprising thing, however, is that The Old Republic is clearly better than World of Warcraft in terms of quality as well. Even if it doesn’t beat WoW in sales (though it could with Star Wars’ huge fanbase), it should still be regarded as the superior product.

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So what makes this the best MMORPG out there? Maybe the fact that it plays like a suprising infusion of Mass Effect and World of Warcraft. You could honestly sit back and play this MMORPG as a single player RPG strictly because the narrative and story telling are both so exceptional. There is actually a main quest in this game, one that is centered around the exploits of your character. To enforce this, there are phased areas throughout the world where only your character will be visible. The entrances of these phased areas are marked with green holographic barrier-like walls that you can walk through. Upon passing through one, you will be phased out of the persistent world containing hundreds of other players and will exist solely on your own (there is no loading to accomplish this). What purpose do these areas serve? Well, phased areas mosly contain important quest NPCs that you’ve been directed to kill among other things. This is a huge improvement over other MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft because, in The Old Republic, a phased area belongs to you and you alone, so any quest NPC you have to kill in a phased area wil be killed by you – not other players. I’m sure many people have terrifying memories of having to fight over quest mobs in World of Warcraft, such as the infamous Hogger in Elwynn Forest. This is no longer an issue.

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Interactions with NPCs are fully voiced and play out as they would in Dragon Age or Mass Effect, meaning there are moral responses for you to choose from when replying to NPCs. It’s a nice option to have which adds some much needed personality to our MMORPG characters for once. Because of this, my Jedi Knight is shaping up to be a very sympathetic guy who always wants to do the right thing for people. A lot of the moral choices I’m choosing are increasing my alignment and pushing me to the light side. Light side, you ask? Yes, there’s the light side and the dark side. Depending on how you play your character and how they respond to NPCs, their personality will develop and will inch towards either the light or dark side. Assist villagers and side with them on ethical issues and you will be pushed in the direction of the light side, but if you run around and choose the intimidating and rude dialogue options (which are quite likely to end up in the death of others around you) then expect to have your character slowly turn towards the dark side.

This all sounds a lot like a single player RPG, doesn’t it? That’s the best part, it’s not. At all. Instances (flashpoints) and raids (operations) are still around as well and are intensely story driven. When you’re not in phased areas for questing reasons, you’ll see plenty of other players running around completing their own quests, killing enemy mobs, and interacting with NPCs. The Old Republic contains everything that other MMORPGs do but beefs the experience up with the character development and narrative we’ve come to expect from single player RPGs. This really is a new level for RPGs. Yes the core gameplay is roughly the same, but the extra layer of single player RPG-esque goodness that Bioware has thrown into the formula has drastically improved how The Old Republic plays as an MMORPG.

Click to enlarge.

As far as character structure goes, all of the usuals are in such as individual gear slots, the ability to pick up trade skills (which rely on your companions to create items rather than yourself), mounts to increase your overall speed, and quite a bit more.

Another exceedingly strong point has to be the game’s presentation. The sound effects are all superb, making the act of slicing apart bandits and syndicate criminals with a lightsabre more satisfying than it has ever been! The game’s voice actors are also very talented as well, but would you expect any game that features the revered Jennifer Hale to have bad voicing? I don’t think so. There’s also the graphics which aren’t going to make any systems work overtime to render anything, but the game still looks a lot better than any other MMO out there. Any lush and forested planet is proof enough of that.

I would have liked to spend more time writing this out, but this is an MMO and, in 2012, we all know what they’re about. Big time sinks that are all about leveling, questing, and raiding. The Old Republic just does everything a little better than the competition and, in the end, that is what matters the most.

Final Score

9.2/10

Pros:
+ Beautiful cities, beautiful planets, beautiful everything.
+ General MMORPG formulas are executed better than they are in any competing MMOs.
+ Top of the line voice work all across the board.

Cons:
– Game can be very burdening if you have never played an MMO before.
– PvP could have been more developed.
– Singleplayer aspect may drive some away from cooperating with fellow players.

What is Star Wars: The Old Republic?

What is Star Wars: The Old Republic? It is a new MMORPG by Canadian developer Bioware, makers of Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and other popular series. The Old Republic is a spiritual sequel to their “Knights of the Old Republic” RPGs in the sense that it is set around the same time in Star Wars lore which means that The Old Republic takes place about 1000 years before the film saga.

The Old Republic borrows heavily from recent Bioware games. You can tell that they use the same 3D modelling crew, and general gameplay is similar (you an have conversations with NPCs and such). Of course there are tons of MMO mainstays since this an MMORPG, but you can tell by playing that this is a Bioware game. The good thing about this? Mass appeal. If you like Bioware, MMORPGs, RPGs in general, or Star Wars, then you’ll find something to like here.

Here are a few of what I feel are some of the stronger points of this game.

Choose Your Side: Do you want to be a good guy? Side with the Republic and be a Jedi Consular, Jedi Knight, Smuggler, or Trooper. Or perhaps you feel like being evil? Join the Sith Empire and become a Bounty Hunter, Imperial Agent, Sith Inquisitor, or Sith Warrior.

Companions: Imagine having a Dragon Age/Mass Effect party member with you at all times who is FULLY customizable and actually helpful! Smuggler characters even get a wookiee companion to mirror Han Solo and Chewbacca!

Developed Class System: All classes have their very own central story lines that are unique to them, so each class has different quests and objectives. Also, dual-class comes into play at level 10 which allows you to take on a secondary class role that enhances your abilities.

Flashpoints: Heavy story driven dungeons that allow four players to play through a scenario together and earn large amounts of experience and social points.

Friendly Atmosphere: Being a Star Wars fan is not required to enjoy this thorough and well designed MMORPG as it eases you into the Star Wars world and makes sure that there are dialoague options available for those who are unfamiliar with Star Wars terms such as Padawan or Sith.

Fully Voiced Experience: Every quest has fully voiced cutscenes. NPCs chatter all around you. The world of The Old Republic is brimming with life. Gone are long walls of text telling you to go kill ten boars (rinse and repeat)! Picking up quests is now a fun activity.

Gear Modding: There are tons of gear modification items that you can find which can be attached to armor and weapons which boost their stats. Go wild with combinations!

Large Worlds: While level 1-10 planets may not be too big (think regular sized WoW zones), planets beyond level 10 get significantly larger and have lots to see. Get ready to start checking your map often!

Lightsaber Modding: THey are fully customizable. Don’t like the glow colour you’ve got? Simple, buy a new colour crystal and go from boring yellow to rockin’ blue and start killing Sith in style.

Space Battles: Don’t feel like questing on a planet? Hop into your starship and head into space to do battle against other ships!

Speeder & Starship: You get your OWN FREAKING STARSHIP. That’s right, your own ship. Pilot it anywhere you want! Revisit past planets or journey to ones that you have no business whatsoever being on! You also get a speeder to allow you to zip around larger planets faster than you would by foot.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic – Impressions (Part 1)

I’m not a big Star Wars fan and I haven’t really enjoyed any Star Wars video game that I have played in the past. With that said, The Old Republic is without a doubt the most well designed MMORPG ever made and I’m enjoying my time with it so far.

Despite the fact that I have only spent about four hours with the game, the overall detail and quality of the finished product is blindingly apparent to me. This isn’t another Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Aion, or even Rift. The Old Republic is a very noticeable step above them all in terms of how well made the game is. The surprising thing, however, is that The Old Republic is clearly better than World of Warcraft in terms of quality as well. Even if it doesn’t beat WoW (though it could with Star Wars’ huge fanbase), it should still be regarded as the superior product.

Click to enlarge.

So what makes this the best MMORPG out there? Maybe the fact that it plays like a suprising infusion of Mass Effect and World of Warcraft. You could honestly sit back and play this MMORPG as a single player RPG strictly because the narrative and story telling are both so exceptional. There is actually a main quest in this game, one that is centered around the exploits of your character. To enforce this, there are phased areas throughout the world where only your character will be visible. The entrances of these phased areas are marked with green holographic barrier-like walls that you can walk through. Upon passing through one, you will be phased out of the persistent world containing hundreds of other players and will exist solely on your own (there is no loading to accomplish this). What purpose do these areas serve? Well, phased areas mosly contain important quest NPCs that you’ve been directed to kill among other things. This is a huge improvement over other MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft because, in The Old Republic, a phased area belongs to you and you alone, so any quest NPC you have to kill in a phased area wil be killed by you – not other players. I’m sure many people have terrifying memories of having to fight over quest mobs in World of Warcraft, such as the infamous Hogger in Elwynn Forest. This is no longer an issue.

Interactions with NPCs are fully voiced and play out as they would in Dragon Age or Mass Effect, meaning there are moral responses for you to choose from when replying to NPCs. It’s a nice option to have which adds some much needed personality to our MMORPG characters for once. Because of this, my Jedi Knight is shaping up to be a very sympathetic guy who always wants to do the right thing for people. A lot of the moral choices I’m choosing are increasing my alignment and pushing me to the light side. Light side, you ask? Yes, there’s the light side and the dark side. Depending on how you play your character and how they respond to NPCs, their personality will develop and will inch towards either the light or dark side. Assist villagers and side with them on ethical issues and you will be pushed in the direction of the light side, but if you run around and choose the intimidating and rude dialogue options (which are quite likely to end up in the death of others around you) then expect to have your character slowly turn towards the dark side.

Click to enlarge.

This all sounds a lot like a single player RPG, doesn’t it? That’s the best part, it’s not. At all. Instances (flashpoints) and raids (operations) are still around, but I’m not at a high enough level to experience either yet. There are also group quests which I’m also yet to experience despite being level 7. When you’re not in phased areas for questing reasons, you’ll see plenty of other players running around completing their own quests, killing enemy mobs, and interacting with NPCs. The Old Republic contains everything that other MMORPGs do but beefs the experience up with the character development and narrative we’ve come to expect from single player RPGs. This really is a new level for RPGs. Yes the core gameplay is roughly the same, but the extra layer of single player RPG-esque goodness that Bioware has thrown into the formula has drastically improved how The Old Republic plays as an MMORPG.

I haven’t explored many classes yet and have only played Republic-side. I have a level 2 trooper who I made for a YouTube video (find it down below) and my level 7 Jedi Knight who is most certainly going to be my main. I didn’t play enough of the trooper to come to any conclusions at all (again, level 2), but from what I’ve seen of the Jedi Knight so far has impressed it. They appear to be a very speedy melee DPS class with a lot of options for closing the distance between the player and mobs as well as potentially decent crowd control potential.

I haven’t talked about much besides how The Old Republic has been infused with single player RPG elements and that’s because I simply haven’t played the game enough to comment on other things. I can say, however, that this game has all of the MMORPG mainstays such as quest hubs, travel points, AI companions, skill trainers, and more. This is an MMORPG with a lot of extra added oomph. I’ll write some more tomorrow or Friday but, so far, colour me impressed. This is a superb MMORPG!

Evony Antics

Nobody else can make town building and resource harvesting look this erotic.

My first encounter with Evony was last summer sometime. Evony banners, like the one below, were all over the place.

I decided against playing the game, believing it to be another MMORPG that tried to rip off the ultra successful formula of World of Warcraft. It wasn’t until my brother told me that he was playing it, and that it was something very different, that I decided to give it a go.

My brother likened Evony to something like Civilization, but I don’t think that it could even emulate that well. I quickly learned that Evony is just a bland game that makes you build a town, collect resources, and train an army very, very slowly. I realized that one could only be successful in Evony if they had absolutely no life, or if they were willing to spend money on it. That’s right, you could spend real money in Evony to be awarded with fairly pathetic items that don’t even make a colossal difference. To make a super city, you would have to spend quite a lot of money.

Would you be willing to continuously sink money into something that looks like this?

Evony just isn’t worth it at all, it’s horribly boring and is mostly just a game of numbers. Given what the sole purpose of Evony is, to just increase numbers, they should have just made this a text-based game or a web game without pictures. Everything on your screen that has more than two colours is irrelevant.

Anyway, I played Evony for about two weeks, playing it “discreetly” at work like the later ads mentioned. Evony gives you the ability to change the the text in the title bar of your browser, so you can change it to “Google” and minimize it and absolutely nobody would know that it’s Evony unless they maximize it. This is the trick I used at work.

Anyway, I started to become aware that Evony was a waste of time. Around the same time, a wave of new ads for the game appeared on the internet.

I found these ads to be really amusing at first, but the image it gave Evony was certainly a bad one and I found myself feeling embarrassed to be an Evony player and I quit.

It wasn’t long after that things then just got completely out of hand.

Boy, am I ever glad that I stopped playing this last year. Evony’s ad campaign has been getting worse lately, even transforming into “build your own dream girl” flash ads that you can “play.” When you finish building a girl, you are then sent to the Evony site.

Several months ago, PopCap apparently became fed up with the Evony ads as well and decided to parody them in one of the funniest acts on the internet over the past year.

PopCap made their own Evony ads, but in the style of Plants vs Zombies.

Score one for PopCap. This made Evony become the laughing stock of the internet, which was sorely deserved.

Evony continues to receive a lot of complaints about the misleading advertising campaign that the game’s makers continue to use to promote the game. Unfortunately, I can’t see how it is doing any good for a game that is absolutely terrible.

Sure, Evony still has lots of players. However, the point in time in which people who play Evony as laughed at is certainly approaching. Teenagers will have to decide whether they want to play Evony or “look cool” to their online peers and not play, and we all know how much teenagers value being cool in the eyes of others.

Anyway, I have a feeling that Evony’s ridiculous ad campaign is not over and I look forward to seeing what ads come next! I’ve never been happier to not be a player of this pathetic excuse of a game.

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